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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

Money, religion and ritual

The link between money and ritual is a common thread connecting the world.

In numerous cultures and periods there has existed strong relationships between displays of wealth and religious devotion, even after death. The shape and familiarity of money is also used to seek divine intervention, prosperity or simply luck.

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Coin-shaped charm. China, 18th century AD
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    Coin-shaped charm. China, 18th century AD 

    Good luck…

    The shape of coins, and the inscriptions on them, inspired a vast range of charms and amulets that conveyed powerful messages. Some asked for good luck and protection, others expressed faith.

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    Maiolica collecting-box 

    Charitable donations…

    Christians in medieval and Renaissance Europe supported the clergy, maintained churches and assisted the poor through the payment of tithes. They also made a wide range of voluntary donations and charitable provisions.

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    Alfred offering penny 

    Charitable donations…

    Christians in medieval and Renaissance Europe supported the clergy, maintained churches and assisted the poor through the payment of tithes. They also made a wide range of voluntary donations and charitable provisions.

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    Crusader-cut gold offering pieces Levant, AD 1167 

    The long road travelled…

    In medieval Europe, people would travel hundreds, even thousands, of miles to visit religious sites. Their pilgrimages involved ritual practices, some of which included money.

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    Imitation gold solidus found in the mouth of a body in a tomb in China 

    Coins and the dead…

    People of different cultures and in different parts of the world buried valuable objects, including coins, with their dead. Objects found in graves give us much information about people’s lives and beliefs.